I believe in, what can be perceived as, the out-dated ideal of taking personal responsibility for one’s own actions. In fully examining this concept, I found it extends far beyond the obvious of taking blame for something I had done wrong. There isn’t any area of my life that has not been affected by my prior decisions and actions. If those decisions brought me to a circumstance I didn’t like then the wisdom of that decisiosn was where I needed to place my emphasis… not that something outside of my control had been at fault. I then realized that if my decisions had placed me in that circumstance, I could also make a decison to change that at any time. This of course, is somethimes difficult to execute, but it at least is a place to start.
This process of taking personal responsibility for my own actions requires being mindful… A moment to moment awareness that is not easy. We live in a culture where admitting fault is seen as costly to the ego and possibly even financially costly. I have found it takes a lot of strength of character to stand up to those odds and not to take the cowardly way out and affix blame eslewhere for a bad situation.
As I have put this change of consciousness into action I have found it has had a surprising effect on who I am, as a person. It has created more clarity as to where I am at in life as I approach my 60th year. By looking at the whole of my actions, and taking full responsibility for them, it created a barometer of understanding that I am not as helpless to outside influences as I had thought I was. When I practice the mindfulness of cause and effect before I act, I have much less “damage control” that has to be attended to later. Another hidden aspect of playing the “blame game”, that I unknowlingly and inadvertently had taken on, was that I placed myself as a victim. I certainly could NOT be at fault; therefore I became the victim of another who WAS at fault. When looked at in that aspect I definately did not want this as a defining role in my life.
I believe that it is a knee-jerk reaction, perhaps even self-preservation, to try to place blame for some wrong action on our part to another source. We probably learn this at an early age, either from an over-protective parent or an adult that has made this a life-style. I find I fight with the temptation to revert back to this behaviour on occassion; however at that time I bring forth my resolve that it is truly in my best interest to “own up”. In the long run it gives my life better meaning and perhaps I will also be a good example to another. Taking full responsibility for my actions is not an easy task, but one well worth aspiring to.
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